We scrambled down from the Alps and arrived in Venice just in time for lunch. So nice to see friendly faces on the far side of the world.
The 4 of us had a wonderful sunny afternoon taking in the sights of Piazza San Marco and around the Rialto bridge but late in the afternoon the heavens opened up and we got drenched. Fortunately, the storm didn’t last long and when we emerged for dinner Venice was cooler but cleaner.
The following day we were on our own again and the dismal rain caught up with us so we spent the next 2 days doing chores. When the sun finally re-emerged it was time to head back into Venice and finish our exploration.
I know there are a few friends out there that enjoy cruising so we thought of you when the above monster arrived.
We took hundreds of pictures and it was so hard to pick just a few.
Next stop was Chioggia, a quieter & smaller version of Venice about an hours drive south.
Originally we were going to continue down the lesser travelled east coast before returning via the busy west. However Deb figured correctly that this would put us in all the iconic spots like Rome, Naples, Florence etc. in July which is something to be avoided at all costs. So we diverted west arriving in Bologna for lunch with the fresh, homemade Tagliatelle al Ragu that the city is famous for not disappointing.
Sometimes we arrive at what we think is going to be ‘just a stopover in a car park’ only to be surprised by some amazing vistas.
For those that don’t know ‘Cinque Terre’ is a World Heritage site that translates into ‘5 towns’. What makes them so special is their location on the rugged mediterranean coastline that has kept them isolated and free of modern development. So while there is no traffic to speak of there are thousands of tourists.
One of the great things to do here is hike the coastal tracks between the villages. The only one open at this time was the most popular ‘Monterosso to Vernazza’
Of course once the hike is finished you must be rewarded with a Prosecco or Campari & Soda in one of the many bars strategically placed to take advantage of the beautiful coastline.
The other ‘must do’ is enjoy fresh seafood at any of the numerous harbourside or cliff mounted ristorantes.
When travelling for long periods it is hard to keep up the constant pace of the ‘big’ sights (like Venice & Cinque Terre) and we have found interspersing these with visits to lesser known treasures like Petrasanta to be most rewarding.
While a lot quieter it was no less fascinating. The main Piazza is littered with dozens of molds of famous sculptures that were cast here.
Another advantage to leaving the main route is finding jewels like this chuch below which not only had free entry but was devoid of tourists allowing for a more moody image.
While not exactly ‘unknown’, Lucca was a very enjoyable 3 day stay. The artworks and architecture on display here are what the Renaissance was all about. And if that’s not enough, being the birthplace of Puccini, we attended a nightly opera recital that is held in a deconsecrated church.
We are currently enjoying 30 degree plus weather so we have taken refuge in a beachside caravan park about 30 minutes from Pisa which we intend to visit tomorrow and then onto Florence.